NPR’s John Burnett to discuss cross-border immigration at Sonoma Speakers Series

A year ago, few would have expected NPR border-correspondent John Burnett’s hotly anticipated speaking appearance in Sonoma.

But much has changed since the summer of 2016, as Burnett takes the stage at Hanna Boys Center on June 12 as the latest guest of the Sonoma Speakers Series.

The first Sonoma Speakers Series event, last October, featured a pair of long-time National Public Radio political commentators musing about the division in the electorate just a few weeks ahead of the Nov. 8 general election. But Neal Conan and Ken Rudin largely discounted Republican nominee Donald Trump’s chances of actually winning that election, given the extreme positions he took on so many issues.

See more here:

Speaker series helmed by local NPR veterans comes to Sonoma

John McChesney’s daughter was up from Los Angeles in August, visiting her father in Bennett Valley, when she started talking about a recent storytelling event she’d attended put on by The Moth, a popular spoken-word program featured in podcasts and on radio.

That conversation planted the seed that became the Sonoma Speaker Series, co-founded by McChesney, a veteran former National Public Radio correspondent and Sonoma resident Alex Chadwick, a longtime former NPR host who helped create the “Morning Edition” program.

The series kicked off in October before a sold-out crowd of up to 400 people at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The pre-election conversation, moderated by McChesney and Chadwick, featured two longtime NPR political correspondents, Ken Rudin and Neal Conan.

See more here:

Sonoma News - Oscar-winning sound designer to deliver an earful at Hanna Boys Center


See more here:

Valley of the Moon Magazine


See more here on page 94:

Kenwood Press

Oscar-winning sound designer speaks at Hannah

Hanna Boys Center Monday December 5 - 7:00pm to

The Sonoma Speaker Series brings to Sonoma Valley major thinkers and players in the world of politics, art, celebrity, sports, science and inspiration. On Dec. 5, the Speaker Series will host Randy Thom, Oscar-winning director of Sound Design at Skywalker Sound, to deliver a dazzling multimedia presentation on the magic and art of movie sound production. Thom’s sound design for a film often begins before shooting starts and becomes an integral part of the storytelling and emotional impact of the film. Thom has worked on Apocalypse Now, Star Wars, The Incredibles, The Revenant, Forest Gump and The Right Stuff, among others.

See article here...

NPR’s Conan, Rudin and Chadwick on stage at Hanna Boys Center

Please see the article on

nprconan-rudinNational Public Radio alum call themselves “Nippers,” and there’s a whole colony of them showing up in Sonoma this month.

Leading up to the November presidential election, an all-star cast of NPR voices comes to the stage for the first of the planned Sonoma Speakers Series, “In Conversation with Neal Conan and Ken Rudin,” on Monday, Oct. 17.

On the Hanna Boys Center stage, starting at 7 p.m., Alex Chadwick will interview Conan and Rudin in conversation about the ups and downs, ins and outs of this very unusual political year.

Just seeing those names in print is strange: they are far more often heard than read. The same applies to the other broadcast veteran that Kathy Witkowicki has recruited for the Sonoma Speakers Series, John McChesney – the former "Talk of the Nation" host who now lives in Sonoma.

Please see the article on

Kathy Witkowicki launches speaker series

Please see the article on

dt-common-streams-streamserverEver since Kathy Witkowicki’s retirement last year from the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance she founded some 20 years ago, a popular cocktail party topic has been, “I wonder what Kathy is going to do next?

The secret is now out. Long a fan of San Francisco’s City Arts and Lectures series, Witkowicki has decided to focus her attention on bringing Sonoma its own speaker series.

She has joined forces with two award-winning NPR journalists: Alex Chadwick and John McChesney, who have taken up residence in Sonoma County following their retirements from NPR.